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New Acts threaten credibility of tertiary sector

Simon Power

National Tertiary Education Spokesperson

5th December 2002

New Acts threaten credibility of tertiary sector

The passing of the Education (Tertiary Reform) Amendment Act and the Industry Training Amendment Act introduce a massive and unwieldy new model for tertiary education in New Zealand, says Simon Power, National party Tertiary Education Spokesperson.

"These acts set in place structural changes to tertiary education that National views as worrying. The warnings from the sector and the Opposition on the implications of such change have not been heeded by the Government.

"In particular, we are worried by the centralisation of control of tertiary education in the hands of the Minister. He now has complete command over funding mechanisms and potentially the kinds of courses he wants to see taught.

"The flow on effects from this are extremely worrying. Academic freedom and institutional autonomy are at risk. Such a risk undermines the international credibility of New Zealand's tertiary education system.

"The acts also introduces a new, compulsory tax - the export education levy. This levy has been heavily criticised by many parts of the tertiary sector.

"It is vital that New Zealand fosters and encourages a strong, independent and flexible tertiary education sector in order to further the growth of our knowledge economy. These acts do not do that,' says Simon Power.


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